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Vitamin A for Darier disease

Vitamin A for Darier disease ; Mechanism of Action and Case Study

Disturbances in vitamin A metabolism have been reported to play a pathogenetic role in Darier disease. So it’s important to study the role of Vitamin A.

In dermatology, the versatile nature of Vitamin A has long captured the attention of researchers and clinicians alike. Its pivotal role in maintaining healthy skin, promoting cellular growth, and regulating keratinization processes has led to its use as a therapeutic option for a lot of skin diseases and conditions. 

One such intriguing application emerges in the context of Darier’s disease, a rare and challenging dermatosis of autosomal dominant inheritance. In this article we will briefly discuss Vitamin A for Darier disease, its mechanism of action and its functions at cellular levels.

Cellular abnormalities in Darier disease: 

Darier’s disease arises from a genetic mutation in the ATP2A2 gene, responsible for encoding the protein sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATP isoform 2 (SERCA2), located on chromosome 12q23. 

This mutation has a direct impact on cell adhesion processes. When this cell adhesion becomes  defective it draws a clinical picture of distinctive skin lesions named as keratotic papules) and other characteristic features, including suprabasal acantholysis, corps ronds, and grains (referred to as dyskeratosis cells) within the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis).

Role of Vitamin A in Darier disease: 

As we have discussed already, aberrant keratinocyte behavior in Darier disease leads to the formation of hyperkeratotic papules. The inhibition of this keratinocyte proliferation is a fundamental mechanism by which Vitamin A exerts its therapeutic benefits in Darier’s disease.

According to a study, as the dosage of Vitamin A increases, so does its potential to stop the uncontrolled proliferation of keratinocytes. 

By diminishing the excessive proliferation of keratinocytes, Vitamin A effectively reduces the formation and growth of keratotic papules, a hallmark feature of this dermatological condition.

Case study of Vitamin A for Darier disease: 

A case study of a 24-year-old female was reported who presented with characteristic hyperkeratotic papular lesions affecting various body regions, including the scalp, face, upper trunk, dorsal hands, and feet. 

The patient’s medical history was notable for the absence of any systemic symptoms, and the skin lesions were primarily asymptomatic but progressively worsening. A clinicopathological evaluation confirmed the diagnosis of Darier’s disease.

To manage the patient’s Darier’s disease, a regimen of oral Vitamin A supplementation was initiated. The patient was prescribed a daily dosage of 25,000 IU of Vitamin A, administered twice daily.

The response to the treatment became evident within just four weeks of initiating the oral Vitamin A regimen. Over the course of two months, a significant outcome was observed, with the majority of the skin lesions clearing. 

Notably, the patient did not experience any adverse effects or complications during the treatment period. 

This case serves as a testament to the effectiveness of oral Vitamin A as a therapeutic intervention for Darier’s disease, offering a safe and promising alternative, especially when systemic retinoids, the primary treatment option, are contraindicated or poorly tolerated.

Vitamin A vs vitamin D in Darier disease: 

According to data provided by a research, the order of antiproliferative efficiency, based on IC 50 values, was as follows: 

Cholecalciferol had the highest efficiency, ergocalciferol and all-trans Retinoic acid had moderate efficiency, and 13-cis Retinoic acid had lower efficiency comparatively. 

So this overall comparison tells us that Vitamin D is more effective in Darier disease as compared to Vitamin A.

14 Vitamin A rich foods that help in Darier disease:

As we have discussed already, Vitamin A plays a significant role in maintaining skin health and regulating various cellular processes, making it particularly relevant for individuals with Darier’s disease. 

So, incorporating foods rich in vitamin A into one’s diet can potentially help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with this dermatological condition. 

Here are 14 such foods known for their vitamin A content:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Mangoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Beef Liver
  • Eggs
  • Butternut Squash
  • Broccoli

Also read: Foods to be avoided in Darier disease

Other Benefits of Vitamin A: 

Vitamin A plays a very important role in your eye health. It helps you see in dim light by producing a protein called rhodopsin. This rhodopsin enables your eye to see effectively in the dark. Moreover Vitamin A has a lot of other benefits which help improve your eyesight.

Beyond its role in eye health, vitamin A assumes a multifaceted role in maintaining various aspects of bodily function. It stimulates the production and enhances the activity of white blood cells, crucial for immune defense. Moreover, it participates in bone remodeling, supporting the structural integrity of the skeletal system. 

Vitamin A also plays a vital role in preserving the health of endothelial cells, which line the interior surfaces of the body’s blood vessels and organs. Furthermore, it regulates the intricate processes of cell growth and division, essential for functions like reproduction and tissue maintenance. 


In the end, we conclude that Vitamin A for darier disease is a treatment approach that is not only effective and safe but also economical.

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